Sustainable development is not feasible without environmental stewardship. Therefore, it is of vital importance for Planting Naturals to monitor its impacts on the environment and to implement all available methods for its preservation. The company uses only organic agriculture practices and pays close attention to nature conservation and biodiversity enhancement.
In Sierra Leone, farmers traditionally use the ‘Slash and Burn’ technique for agricultural land preparation. Planting Naturals has a zero-burning policy that strictly forbids the use of fire for any activity regarding oil palm plantations, such as clearing land or waste management. By complying with this policy, our farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, health impacts for their workers and the surroundings communities, and conserve HCV habitats. Planting Naturals spreads awareness amongst its smallholder farmers on the dangers of using fire and the strict zero-burning policy on a yearly basis.
Planting Naturals identifies the High Conservation Value (HCVs) areas within its operational sites. After the assessments, protective signalisation is installed and monitoring and sensitisation activities are organised. It is important for the company to train the farmers and the communities about the importance of the protection and the proper management of these unique areas. Learn more about the importance of identification and protection of HCVs at the hcvnetwork.org.
The employees of Planting Naturals regularly organise trainings on waste management for the smallholders and the communities. The company aims to teach people to manage, dispose and recycle their garbage responsibly.
The use of an integrated management plan (IMP) for pests and diseases is key to the organic operations of Planting Naturals. The close monitoring of disease and pest infestations allows them to be more easily controlled without the use of a chemical input.
The most important aspects of an IPM system are as follows:
- Knowledge of the individual life cycle and ecology of each pest, this must include their natural enemies and if/how biological control could be used as a remedy.
A monitoring system to detect an outbreak in its early stages, so that control measures can be applied promptly, and at the right time.
The level at which the pest becomes economically damaging to the farm. So the benefits of external control measures must be financially sensible for the farmer.
Our smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone are certified against the European Union Organic Regulation by independent certification bodies. The operations undergo annual external audits to ensure their internal systems are working correctly to guarantee the organic integrity of the products. The Planting Naturals’ trading office in the Netherlands is also certified organic to ensure the proper handling of the products and to prevent contamination from the conventionally produced goods.